Mumps Outbreak on New Hampshire College Campus: Health Alert for New Hampshire Providers

February 29, 2016

Key Points and Recommendations:

  • Healthcare providers should be aware of a mumps outbreak identified on a New Hampshire college campus. Students are preparing to go on spring break next week and possibly travel to other areas of the state or country.

  • Mumps is an acute viral infection typically characterized by swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, typically the parotid gland (parotitis). Patients can also develop nonspecific prodromal symptoms of fever, headache, myalgias, and malaise.

  • Providers should notify the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS) of any patient presenting with signs and symptoms consistent with mumps who had contact with someone from the affected college community.

  • Healthcare providers should call NH DPHS with any testing requests for mumps, which would involve submission of a buccal swab for mumps PCR, and blood for mumps serology (IgM/IgG). NH DPHS can be contacted at 1-603-271-4496 (after hours, 1-800-852-3345, ext. 5300).

Situation:

The NH DPHS has identified 2 confirmed and 3 probable cases of mumps virus infection on a college campus in southern New Hampshire over the last week.

The 2 confirmed cases have laboratory diagnosed mumps by buccal PCR. The 3 other probable cases have consistent symptoms and have had close contact with the lab-confirmed cases. All individuals are members of the same college campus and college hockey team and all had received appropriate prior vaccination with MMR.

NH DPHS is currently conducting a contact investigation, however, the college is going on spring break and students may be returning to their homes or traveling to other areas of the state or country.

Providers should be vigilant and ask patients presenting with parotitis or other symptoms consistent with mumps about contact with individuals from the affected college community.

Background Information:

Mumps is a virus which causes an acute infection typically characterized by swelling and tenderness of one or more salivary glands, typically the parotid gland (parotitis). Patients can also develop nonspecific prodromal symptoms of fever, headache, myalgias, and malaise. Most individuals only have mild symptoms and recover completely in a few weeks. Individuals, however, can rarely develop meningitis/encephalitis, orchitis, and deafness.

Mumps is transmitted by respiratory droplet spread or by direct contact with an individual's respiratory secretions. Individuals are considered most infectious from 2 days prior to symptom onset until 5 days after. The MMR vaccine is considered to be 88% effective after a 2-dose series, but it is still possible for vaccinated individuals to develop mumps.

Incubation period for mumps after exposure can range from 12-25 days.

Any patient diagnosed with confirmed or probable mumps may need to be isolated for 5 days after onset of parotitis and excluded from school, work, or public settings.

Any susceptible contacts to a case that are not considered immune may also need to be excluded from school, work, or public settings from days 12 through 25 after their exposure if nonimmunized, susceptible individuals are present, or until they receive a dose of the MMR vaccine.

For more information about mumps and control of mumps in healthcare and school settings, please review the CDC website.

For any questions regarding the contents of this message, please contact NH DHHS, DPHS, Bureau of Infectious Disease Control at 1-603-271-4496 (after hours, 1-800-852-3345, ext. 5300).

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